Venus Dispatches

Visit Blog Website

19 posts · 14,817 views

The primary goal of this site is to bring attention to the latest peer-reviewed articles concerning the planet Venus. Other Venus-related news (conferences, etc.) will also be reported.

Paul Wren
19 posts

Sort by: Latest Post, Most Popular

View by: Condensed, Full

  • May 8, 2017
  • 11:54 PM
  • 148 views

Quick Look: The Thermal Structure of the Venus Atmosphere

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

SummaryFor two years beginning in 2013, a large team led by Sanjay Limaye set out to combine and compare the following:Venusian atmospheric data collected by probes in the 1970s and 1980s (used to create the Venus International Reference Atmosphere, or VIRA)Venus Express data on the vertical and horizontal structure of the atmosphereEarth-based observations of the upper atmosphere temperature structure of Venus made since VIRAFigure 1a: Vertical coverage of post-VIRA atmospheric structure experi........ Read more »

  • April 26, 2017
  • 11:33 PM
  • 64 views

Recently Active Lava Flows on Idunn Mons

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

OverviewCombined VIRTIS emissivity and Magellan SAR image of Idunn MonsIn Idunn Mons on Venus: Location and extent of recently active lava flows, Piero D'Incecco and his colleagues looked closer at 1 µm thermal emissivity anomalies on the eastern flank of Idunn Mons, as observed by the VIRTIS instrument on Venus Express. Hypothesizing that recent lava flows were responsible, they overlayed the VIRTIS emissivity data with SAR images from the Magellan mission to look for lava flows that may have ........ Read more »

D'Incecco, P., Müller, N., Helbert, J., & D'Amore, M. (2017) Idunn Mons on Venus: Location and extent of recently active lava flows. Planetary and Space Science, 25-33. DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2016.12.002  

  • April 21, 2017
  • 12:02 PM
  • 64 views

Spectral Guide for Earth-based Observers to Complement Akatsuki Mission

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

OverviewMeant as a guide for Earth-based observers of Venus (professional and amateur), Overview of useful spectral regions for Venus: An update to encourage observations complementary to the Akatsuki mission provides detailed information regarding the wavelengths at which observations should be made to complement the Akatsuki mission at Venus.Two tables (one for day side observing, the other for night side) provide opportunities across a "spectrum" of wavelengths, indicating what products are l........ Read more »

  • April 18, 2017
  • 12:43 PM
  • 60 views

Bright highlands in equatorial Venus likely ferro-electric. What's up with the high-latitude highlands?

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

OverviewA lot of papers have been written about the highly reflective highlands (in radar) on Venus, with several different hypotheses (e.g. high porosity, metal frost).  Allan Treiman, Elise Harrington, and Virgil Sharpton look specifically at high-latitude highlands in comparison to highlands in the equatorial regions.  Both areas feature high reflectivity, but the reflectance patterns are distinct, as they describe in Venus' radar-bright highlands: Different signatures and mate........ Read more »

  • April 17, 2017
  • 12:20 AM
  • 47 views

Discovery of a 150 day period in the Venus condensational clouds

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

OverviewUsing near infrared (NIR) data from the VIRTIS instrument that once traveled aboard the Venus Express spacecraft, Kevin McGouldrick and Constantine C. C. Tsang found a periodic variation in radiance, most intense at the mid-latitudes.  The paper is here.What Did They Find?They identified A 150-day periodic variation in radiance within the 1.74 µm and 2.30 µm windows, which is most pronounced between 30° and 60° latitude.  They also found that in these mid-latitudes, ra........ Read more »

  • August 6, 2015
  • 01:22 AM
  • 1,013 views

Best evidence yet for active volcanism on Venus?

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

OverviewIn an article from Geophysical Research Letters, a team led by Eugene Shaygin used images taken by the Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) aboard Venus Express to identify transient hot spots on the surface. These hot spots are located near very young (~10 Mya) volcanoes and rifts, and are suggestive of active lava flows.Even though the surface is generally obscured from view by the thick clouds, there is a transparent window through which light can pass in the near infrared wavelengths, and t........ Read more »

Shalygin, E., Markiewicz, W., Basilevsky, A., Titov, D., Ignatiev, N., & Head, J. (2015) Active volcanism on Venus in the Ganiki Chasma rift zone. Geophysical Research Letters, 42(12), 4762-4769. DOI: 10.1002/2015GL064088  

  • August 5, 2015
  • 12:51 AM
  • 952 views

Quick Look: Vertical profiles of H2O, H2SO4, and sulfuric acid concentration at 45–75 km on Venus

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

An improved model for vertical profiles of water and sulfuric acid vapors as well as sulfuric acid concentrations in the Venus clouds is presented. From the April 2015 edition of Icarus:Title:Vertical profiles of H2O, H2SO4, and sulfuric acid concentration at 45–75 km on VenusAbstract:A method developed by Krasnopolsky and Pollack (Krasnopolsky, V.A., Pollack, J.B. [1994]. Icarus 109, 58–78) to model vertical profiles of H2O and H2SO4 vapors and sulfuric acid concentration in the Venus cloud........ Read more »

  • July 20, 2015
  • 11:05 AM
  • 1,020 views

Quick Look: Touchdown on Venus: Analytic Wind Models and a Heuristic Approach to Estimating Landing Dispersions

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

I'm working through a lot of recent Venus-related papers, so here's another morsel for you that I will not have time to read in depth (I'm prioritizing articles relating to the Venusian surface). The author created a straightforward model of winds on Venus (using data from the VEGA Balloons and the Pioneer descent probes) to determine entry and descent dispersions for future Venus landers. From the April 2015 edition of Planetary and Space Science:Title:Touchdown on Venus: Analytic wind models ........ Read more »

  • July 10, 2015
  • 01:23 AM
  • 795 views

Quick Look: Computer model shows imaging of Venus surface possible from balloon

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

From the April 2015 edition of Solar System Research:Title:Resolving the surface details on Venus in the balloon- or lander-borne images with a computer modeling methodAbstract:Due to the presence of opaque clouds at high altitudes, it is difficult to survey the surface of Venus in the optical spectral range. At the same time, in the under-cloud layer, there are transparency windows at the wavelengths λ = 1.08, 0.85, and 0.65 μm. At these wavelengths, the gaseous absorption (in the whole atmos........ Read more »

  • July 9, 2015
  • 01:22 AM
  • 926 views

Impact Crater Ejecta Mantling on Venusian Tesserae? Earth-based Radar Seems to Say Yes

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

OverviewThe Smithsonian's Bruce Campbell and his colleagues (Campbell et al., 2015) combined radar imagery captured in 1988 and 2012 by the Arecibo and Greenbank radio telescopes to better detect the parabola-shaped deposits of impact crater ejecta on Venus. They were looking for such deposits on the highly-deformed terrain of tessera regions, which are suspected of having formed at a time when there was still water on the surface.Previous researchers had identified large parabolic deposits of ........ Read more »

  • July 17, 2013
  • 01:04 PM
  • 1,544 views

Could there be life in the clouds of Venus?

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

[note: this post is an excerpt from a literature review paper on Venusian Astrobiology that I wrote last year.]3. Extant Life in the CloudsData returned by Mariner II in 1962 drastically changed the picture of conditions on Venus, causing most to lose interest in it as a harbor for life.  Nevertheless, within just a few years scientists were speculating that life might still survive on Venus in the clouds.  Harold Morowitz and Carl Sagan (1967) published a brief article in Nature conta........ Read more »

  • May 5, 2013
  • 02:53 AM
  • 1,396 views

The SPICAV-UV Instrument Aboard Venus Express

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

IntroductionThe European Space Agency’s Venus Express (VEX) is the only active spacecraft mission at the planet Venus.  It carries a number of instruments: A magnetometer, a wide-angle CCD camera, a space plasma detector, a Fourier spectrometer, a thermal spectrometer, a radio science package, and a cluster of spectrometers specifically designed to study the Venusian atmosphere: SPICAV (Spectroscopy for Investigation of Characteristics of the Atmosphere of Venus).  This package conta........ Read more »

Bertaux, J., Nevejans, D., Korablev, O., Villard, E., Quémerais, E., Neefs, E., Montmessin, F., Leblanc, F., Dubois, J., Dimarellis, E.... (2007) SPICAV on Venus Express: Three spectrometers to study the global structure and composition of the Venus atmosphere. Planetary and Space Science, 55(12), 1673-1700. DOI: 10.1016/j.pss.2007.01.016  

  • May 5, 2013
  • 01:28 AM
  • 1,137 views

Venus has an Ozone Layer, too

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

An atmospheric study using the SPICAV-UV instrument recently came to my attention where researchers (Montmessin, et al. 2011) used the data archive to identify (for the first time) a layer of ozone in the upper atmosphere of Venus (previously, ozone had only been identified in the atmospheres of Mars and Earth).The team analyzed the complete SPICAV dataset, and determined that UV absorption by O3 was observed during a stellar occultation run on the night side of Venus during orbit #348.  Th........ Read more »

Montmessin, F., Bertaux, J., Lefèvre, F., Marcq, E., Belyaev, D., Gérard, J., Korablev, O., Fedorova, A., Sarago, V., & Vandaele, A. (2011) A layer of ozone detected in the nightside upper atmosphere of Venus. Icarus, 216(1), 82-85. DOI: 10.1016/j.icarus.2011.08.010  

  • April 1, 2013
  • 01:23 PM
  • 1,306 views

Scorpion-like Life Discovered on Surface of Venus

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

In a recent paper published in Solar System Research (Ksanfomality, 2012), revered senior statesman of Russian planetary science Leonid Ksanfomality reported the detection of possible life forms on Venus.Using modern image enhancement techniques to re-analyze the panoramic images captured by Veneras 9 and 13 (in 1975 and 1982, respectively), Ksanfomality discovered objects that he observed moving, "Scorpion" appeared in image V-13-1-6 BW at the90th minute after landing of Venera 13.  I........ Read more »

  • April 1, 2013
  • 10:21 AM
  • 423 views

Scorpion-like Life Discovered on Surface of Venus?

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

In a recent paper published in Solar System Research (Ksanfomality, 2012), revered senior statesman of Russian planetary science Leonid Ksanfomality reported the detection of possible life forms on Venus.Using modern image enhancement techniques to re-analyze the panoramic images captured by Veneras 9 and 13 (in 1975 and 1982, respectively), Ksanfomality discovered objects that he observed moving, "Scorpion" appeared in image V-13-1-6 BW at the90th minute after landing of Venera 13.  I........ Read more »

  • February 7, 2013
  • 01:29 PM
  • 1,062 views

Searching for volcanic eruptions on Venus: Nothing yet

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

Eugene Shalygin and colleagues report on their ongoing attempts to detect volcanic activity on Venus. The Venus Monitoring Camera (VMC) carried by the Venus Express orbiter is capable of making observations in the near-infrared centered around 1.01 microns, a wavelength at which thermal emissions from the planet's surface can be detected on the night side.  They are making observations in likely locations, specifically the area around the Maat Mons, Sapas Mons, and Ozza Mons volcanoes (Mess........ Read more »

  • January 29, 2013
  • 03:31 PM
  • 1,054 views

Water vapor in the Venus troposphere

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

In a recent paper, Sarah Chamberlain from the University of Lisbon and her colleagues report on their interpretation of ground-based Venus observations from 2004 using new modeling techniques to determine the amount of water vapor present in the lower atmosphere.Anglo-Australian TelescopeIn spite of the dense clouds and haze, near-infrared windows occur on the Venus nightside where the scattered daylight radiation is minimal, allowing thermal radiation emission from the deep lower atmosphere to ........ Read more »

  • January 14, 2013
  • 01:57 AM
  • 951 views

Venus Express flew over an electrical storm

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

Christopher Russell has been looking for proof of lightning in the atmosphere of Venus for quite a while (his earliest publication I could find on the subject was in 1979).  Now, Russell and his colleagues report on the strongest evidence yet for Venusian lightning (2012).In order to remove interference from magnetometer data collected previously by Venus Express, Russell and his team devised a new algorithm that uses the inboard sensor to detect interfering signals and then removes the same si........ Read more »

Russell, C., Leinweber, H., Zhang, T., Daniels, J., Strangeway, R., & Wei, H. (2012) Electromagnetic waves observed on a flight over a Venus electrical storm. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1029/2012GL054308  

  • January 13, 2013
  • 05:46 PM
  • 855 views

Variations in sulphur dioxide at the cloud tops of Venus: due to volcanoes? maybe not

by Paul Wren in Venus Dispatches

A recent article in Nature Geoscience, Variations of sulphur dioxide at the cloud top of Venus's dynamic atmosphere, has caused the science press to get excited about the possibility of active volcanoes on Venus.Every news headline I saw over the last few weeks that referred to this article wondered aloud if there are active volcanoes.  Even the ESA website poses the news as a question.  So, does Venus have active volcanism?  First, let's talk about the paper and what it reports.E........ Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use ResearchBlogging.org to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SRI Technology.

To learn more, visit http://selfregulationinstitute.org/.